avoidant personality.

Internet, it's 3 PM. I have lesson plans to see to, my place is a disaster area and Miss M and I need clean clothes for the week. My adulting skills are haphazard. I feel like I live like a hungover frat boy most days of the week.**

I like to space my adulting chores out - do one on Monday morning, another late Tuesday afternoon, a third after dinner on Wednesday...etc and so forth, so by the time the weekend gets here, I'm all done with grown up stuff and can go play. 

But my high stress job, when it starts back up again, prevents this. First off, I have to get up at 5:15 (which actually is more like 5:45 by the time I'm actually standing, numb and blank, under the shower) to be at work by 7:30. I just found out that if I'm not in the door by 7:30, if I slide in at say 7:32, I'm supposed to go sign in somewhere and let them know: I was 2 minutes late. (Is there somewhere I can sign out when I leave 2 hours past the time I was allowed to?)

Anyway. This schedule doesn't really work for me. By the time I get home, I'm exhausted and can only focus on doing dinner/cleaning up dinner, helping with homework/reading, physical therapy exercises, bath, bed. The end. And by the time the weekend gets here, really I just want to lie around and impersonate a...(I tried to think of a vegetable I slightly resemble to type there, but the only ones that are coming to mind right now are carrots and rutabagas).

Also, I have avoidant personality. I'm highly selective about the things I will do. And the percentage of how much someone is REQUIRING they be done vs. the percentage of my DESIRE to meet the requiring totally depends whether or not a paycheck or some type of reward is involved. If a paycheck/reward of some type is involved, they'll be completed to specified requirements (how well you specify will exactly determine how well they are completed - if you don't care, I don't care either). If no paycheck or reward is involved? Oh ha. Then it'll entirely depend on the following: the barometric pressure, amount of clouds/rain outdoors, my hormone levels, how much sleep I've had, the moon phase, the season, the number of daylight hours, if we're currently under daylight savings time or not, how much gas is in my car, whether I've had enough coffee that morning, how many little friendship dramas I've had to deal with over the last week, my current opinions about the Middle East situation, my bank account status, and how irritating Miss M was the last time we were at Target.

I feel like, since school/work re-upped a few weeks ago, I've done nothing here but whine about how I really MUST pull it together. Get my collective shit in gear and JUST DO IT.

However. I think I'm at a point now where I just feel like this:

The Cotton Floozy! She makes excellent needlepoint art.
Because you know why? I'm finally figuring out, at age 43 and so many months, you just can't do it all. There IS no such thing as balance. You're either doing swimmingly at work but your house is a biohazard area (don't even get me started on what's happening in the backseat of my car right now, where M resides on the roads of Atlanta), or you're doing awesome at home and you're about to be handed a We-Are-So-Over-Your-Ridiculousness severance package at work. Or you've found a way to maintain home and work environments but your personal life is just big wad of WTF. There is no magic formula. There is no balance. There is no perfection.

So basically, what I'm going to do, once I hit Publish on this, is to go make my bed. Fold laundry that's been sitting in a basket on my floor for going on 2 weeks. Straighten the living room. Put some Draino in the slow running bathtub (2 girls = too much hair in the pipes...I really want to say that's a metaphor for life in some ways). And then go think about how to teach 2nd graders whatever targets they think we should be teaching 2nd graders the 4th week of school. Which, ultimately, won't matter in the long run because there will be a meeting or a classroom crisis or a state- or district-mandated test to give, and really school and becoming educated should be about problem solving and creativity, not the difference between a verb and an adverb, the end. But I don't make the rules, and I need to pay rent and pay for Internet.

But if I DID make the rules, believe me: there would be siesta breaks and no taxes involved. I'd run a country that was practically Dionysian, with grape harvest festivals, fertility rites, live outdoor theatre every night, enforced ecstasy, and ritual madness. I'm all about 4 out of 5 of those things (I'll let you guess which) right now.

Oh, and! There'd be no more freaking RAIN. omfg, if this weekly weekend rain crap doesn't cease, we are going to have a PROBLEM, Universe.

**Apologies if you get a lot of weird formatting on your end with this entry. Not my fault - Blogger's having a weird day. It was all I could do to successfully upload images. But, I think it really underscored the point of this blog, and how willing I am to put up with a lot of other people's/thing's jackassery these days. I am just a veritable barren field of a whole lotta don't-give-a-fucks. A 5'9" honey badger. Hit publish, moved on, and hope that's okay with you.


extrovert world exhaustion.

Courtesy: Skinned Knees
Welp, this has been a crap week. So much stress. So so soooo much stress. I'm 3 weeks into the school year, but it feels like I've been working for 95 weeks straight, no break, uphill, in a sticky and scorching jungle heat, no water in sight. I'm so tired, my tired's tired is tired. That's three generations of tired, all wrapped up into one human being. 

Why is there so much stress these days in teaching at poor, urban schools? Why? They keep telling us they want to lessen our workload, and help us work smarter not harder. But then they make us go to exactly 3 more meetings a week, taking away precious planning time or gold after school prep time. I mean listen: I want to help my people meet their goals, I want to help my bosses' vision become reality. But I cannot do this if I'm burned out. And I'm burning out. I'm on a slow roll to black right now.

And that is all I will say about it. Because I still need a paycheck. 

Wait, no. A few more things: last time, I wrote about being a free spirit. (Which, by the way, got like 1,600 hits. WTF, Blogger? I'm sorry, that's simply not correct. There are not that many people out there in the world, on a Windows platform, that interested in my free bird tendencies. Weird.) (As I was writing this, a friend called and told me I was most likely under attack - someone or something was trying to lock my computer or lock up Blogger or something. I hate people and things that attack other people and things. Get. Over. Yourselves.) 

Anyway. So at the beginning of the year, they made us do this pop psychology What's Your Color? thing. Which was one thing, because I'm all about those cute little Buzzfeed quizzes that, like, tell you what type of cookie you are (ginger cookie) or which 90s pop idol you are (Spice Girls) (naturally). But then we had to break out into groups and share about our colors. And this is where my annoyance with other humans always starts.

First off, I am an introvert. And the one thing you can do to introverts that will really annoy and stress them out is to make them participate in cutesy, everybody-group-hug-and-share-your-thoughts! kinds of activities. It's the worst part of my work environment. Every time I go to some training, I know there's going to be a moment or ten where the instructor goes: "Okay, guys. Partner up and deconstruct this paragraph. In 10 minutes, we'll meet back and share out what you and your partner think about it." And I just want to hurl. Because (a) I don't WANT to share out what's in my brain. I don't WANT to tell you where my brain is at on the information you just presented to me. My brain needs to sit quietly with the information on a sheet of paper or notes I've taken in front of me and think about them. Quietly. BY MYSELF. I don't CARE what a partner thinks. Leave. Me. Alone. and (b) I don't have proof, but I'm pretty certain these types of activities are the results of some bullshit research done in the early 2000s that claim making everyone talk over how their brains are working is going to make them smarter. When in reality, it just means less work for the instructor. I bet I can find some research findings from the late 1990s that say instructors who don't actually, you know, instruct are pretty lazy and need to find a different career path.

Also they make us do this to kids. By the way. And if they don't see us doing it when they come to observe us, if they can't check it off on their check list ("Uses innovative student engagement strategies" or whatever), we get rated downward. I just want to scream at them: BUT I DON'T LEARN WELL THIS WAY!! YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY THINK ALL THESE LITTLE PEOPLE FROM ALL THESE DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS ENJOY THIS!!!! Stop trying to turn everybody into extroverts, Extroverts. Just because you are doesn't mean we all want to be. Some kids are shy and quiet and don't want to share with a partner or do a whole bunch of small group work activities every single moment of their day. And they shouldn't have to. 

Second. So I turned out to be a combination of Blue (touchy/feely/compassionate) and Red (free spirit/don't tell me what to do, dammit/loves adventure)...which I believe officially makes me confused and utterly conflicted. Meaning: I want to cocoon and be safe...NO! LET'S GO ZIPLINING!!!!! no, no...let's eat popcorn and snuggle under a blanket together and cry over Schindler's List again...OOOOH WAIT NO!! LET'S DRINK BEER AND DANCE IN THE RAIN WHILE TRIBAL DRUMS BEAT IN THE BACKGROUND!!!! 

That kind of thing. I am a Pisces, of course. Which is a symbol of two fish connected at the tails, trying to swim in opposite directions. So I suppose this sort of makes sense. Also, if you take blue and mix it with red, you get purple. And purple is the color of magic and wisdom. I just need to point THAT out to you, too.

At any rate.

Third. I think this is why, for people like me, dangling things in front of us like: oooh, here's how you can get an Exemplary rating on your annual evaluation...don't you want to be Exemplary? Or oooh, if you have zero absences at work this year, you can wear jeans every Monday and Wednesday! Or oooh, if you get two Exemplary ratings in a row AND your class raises its collective reading levels by 1200 points, we'll give you $1000 more a year! Simply don't work on Red/Blue people like me. 

Because who cares about Exemplary? I'm at the point I don't even care about Needs Improvement. Last year, I got a Needs Improvement on one of my brief evals, and I was sobbing in my principal's office about it. 
This year, I'm all: meh. Everybody needs to improve. This feels like me getting a C on a really hard Advanced Algebra II test. Nothing short of a small miracle, and so fair enough.

And 0 absences at work for some jeans passes or a Starbucks gift card or whatever? Psh. I'll take 200 mental health days instead, thanks. Those are worth way more than any gift card or cheap gold sticker bait. I mean for real. Please don't insult my intelligence; I have a master's degree. 

And $1000 more per year, for some extra data that ultimately may or may not save the planet but probably won't save it, since a small group of 1% of people are currently running it all into the ground and destroying the very fabric of an upwardly mobile society and therefore bringing about a total mutiny of French Revolution proportions? And probably are the SAME people behind all the research that says we all need to share out what's in our brains (so they can mind control us). Yeah, no. You're not going to convince me to sell my soul out to THAT, Satan's minions. Nice try. Up your ante. And stop insulting my intelligence; I taught myself how to semi-properly use semi-colons.

I think this is why I'm tired, really. I'm an introvert having to work in an environment that values extroversion. This is why I go home drained every day. I thoroughly enjoy hanging out and talking to my students. They really make my heart happy, with their cute little life observations and their tremendously naive and sweet viewpoints on how the world works. But then I have to sit in two meetings where I'm supposed to share out how my brain is thinking and my group's extroverts all decide the best way to get some jeans passes and an Exemplary on our meeting performance will be to perform a synchronized swimming routine with sporadically inserted bits of choreography from Flashdance, set to Van Halen's Hot For Teacher

I just want to sit and read the material, process it, and then take a nap while listening to soft Vivaldi in the background. (Or, you know, listen to Van Halen's Hot for Teacher, but only in MY brain. And not talk to anybody about it because no, Mr./Ms. Extrovert, I actually do NOT care how your brain is thinking. Go think out loud over there, in that far off corner, where I can't hear you because I'm not kidding: I DON'T CARE.)


free spirit.

One of the things I keep saying to myself that I want to be, that's become my one goal with the rest of my time here on this side of this planet in this galaxy in this part of this Universe, is to be more of a free spirit. When I say this, I think I basically mean: Non-conformity. I mean: Take your rules and shove 'em where the sun don't shine, Mr. Man. I want to be a bird you cannot change

I know I've never liked being told what to do. I don't like feeling backed into a corner or confined. I know this is one reason I'm having such a hard time in public education right now; it's all just so confining, so regimented and scripted, so without creativity. Also, I come out swinging when I feel like I'm being bossed around or manipulated or caged. And I am stubborn; when I make up my mind, I'm pretty certain (till I'm not). I've always been fiercely independent; I don't really ask for help until I'm in a place where I can barely crawl my way back to the Light. And even then I'm still trying to do a lot of the work myself even though you may be practically carrying me. As a child, it didn't bother me that other kids were out playing and doing whatever. I was perfectly content reading under a tree, hanging out at the neighborhood pool all by myself while making up worlds about mermaids and freaking myself out that Jaws COULD, theoretically, be at the bottom of the 12 ft deep end. I wrote stories and plays and sat and listened to adult conversation with curious and sometimes shocked ears. I mean, I did have friends, but I was absolutely and completely content to be by myself (and this is still true). People tend to drain me, particularly in large crowds. My mother worried a little about me out loud sometimes, my father occasionally encouraged me to go out and make more friends. But mostly they just let me be...ME. I'd spend hours drawing my father pictures of fashion models so he could have a harem, or I'd write my mom a poem about my ridiculous brother (honestly, WHY was he THERE, Mom??) (I'm joking; my brother and I are good friends and I love him to pieces...especially now that we live in separate houses). Or I'd be performing a bizarre dance routine in our basement, certain it was floatingly esoteric when in reality it possibly looked like I had a degenerative muscle disease (I still dance like this, by the way).

But I'm also a consummate people pleaser; I want everyone to be happy and at peace. Which means that, in the past, so often I've found myself agreeing to do things and be things that aren't really true to who I am at heart. And then I end up feeling resentful and angry and restless. So, so, sooooo restless. Which is why I left my marriage in June; I tried very very hard for several years to fit into the Big Picture...but in the end, it wasn't ever my Big Picture. And this makes me sad. I really, really wanted to help C have his Big Picture. I still do, actually. I really like that one corner he's painted over there, and the hues he's chosen for the sky at midnight. But it's not MY big picture, and that really bothers me. 

(I remember one conversation towards the end, fraught with distress and frustration with me on C's part...he just wanted me to understand, to see the Big Picture, to get with the game plan. C is very athletic, and drawn to team sports. I remember he'd always say to me: We're a team. This family is a team. And I remember every time C would bring up the concept, the idea, of the three of us - him, me, and Miss M - as a team, I'd think: but what if I've always abhorred team sports? Because I'm more of a runner, or maybe an archer. Bodybuilding or singles tennis, perhaps. I've never really enjoyed the team-aspect of group sports. That requires asking for help a lot, and I like to do things myself. When our arguments started heading this route, it was one big page turner/eye opener for me. I mean, okay. I'll be your top athlete...if I can go it alone.)

So anyway. I went looking/researching for what it means to be a free spirit. Because I'm pretty patchouli hippie and all, but before I get a the Sanskrit symbol for God tattooed on my inner right wrist and some birds flying off into a sunset inked onto my inner left thigh, I want to make sure I actually know what I'm doing. That I'm on the right path. 

It turns out, I am. Because ha! Free spirit = no definitions. No confines, no inside the boxes. Which, hurrah! Oh, hurrah. You can totally be a Wall Street Banker AND a free spirit. You can save for a rainy day and STILL be a free spirit. You don't have to panhandle to be free. Free spirit means stop trying to come up with a definition and just freaking BE. Let your spirit free and just BE. 

Here's one article I found that has my name all over it: 21 Unusual Struggles Only Free Spirits Will Understand. I understand all 21 of them. And yes to everything in THIS one, and ditto everything in THIS one. And also that it's okay to be completely contradictory of what you said on Monday by saying the exact opposite on Wednesday - that is completely indicative of a free spirit. Free Spirits just won't play by your rules, homey. 

So yeah. I think I'm doing okay in my free spirit journey quest, because it turns out I've been one since, oh, 1972 or so. I just didn't know it. And you know what that means, don't you? It means that probably the reason I'm so fucked up emotionally half the time is because I'm not being true to my nature, I'm too worried about societal standards and norms or that person's definition of moral behavior or what she thinks or he wants or why that stranger in the supermarket is glaring at me. I'm not an overnighter; I can't quit my addictions cold turkey, and I'll be very honest and let you know that I am addicted to other people's opinions of me. I want people to like, no, love me. And so I care what other people think. And it's really been harshing my mellow. For a really, really, really long time now.

So that's another goal I'll be focusing on for the next 365-ish days or so: getting back to that time I could spend a Saturday night reading a book or writing a short story about one of the Menudo boys falling in love with me and whisking me off to exotic San Juan, Puerto Rico to sing me Spanish lullabies in minor keys. Meanwhile, all the other 15 year olds were off dating and making out at the movies, and I couldn't have cared less. Not a single iota. The nanosecond I can access that girl again, I'll be juuuust fine. 'Cause screw your judgments, eff your norms. Life's short; fly free, little freebird. Those cages ain't nothin' but a thang.


an abyss of memories (aka: wherein i overshare)

Source: PM-Forever Arts, deviantart.com
postscript edit: a friend sent me a link to a wiki on melancholia. according that, i am not depressed. what i am is longing. i have a bittersweet longing. and according to what i was compelled to write about today, that bittersweet longing is for...my dad. and a dead deer. (which officially makes me the strangest person i know.)

it's raining today. i'm adulting about 50% better than i have been. meaning, i am washing towels and clothes right now, my kitchen and bathroom are clean and my bed has been made. but i'm avoiding looking at my bank account because, though i'm sure i have plenty of money to pay the bills i need to pay, it will mean miss m and i will probably be eating rice-a-roni till i get paid at the end of the week because we went out for dinner too many times in august instead of me cooking (please nobody tell c...it'll be one more example of how i'm not doing It right). 

but mostly: it's raining today, and rain brings out all the melancholy i can usually push far to the back of me. lately i'm like this: i can be happy happy joy joy (sunny days) everything's awesome! omg i LOVE life! *cue broadway dance number here...WITH tap dancing* and then suddenly the next day is a grey, cold, rainy day and i am plunged back into depths of melancholy and bleh, singing sad and mournful songs and dressing all in black. yes, even black lipstick. total goth. 

(what i'm most worried about right now: i heard - or maybe read somewhere - that october in georgia is going to be a DOOZY in terms of number of gloomy, rainy days. you guys! if this is true...how the holy hell in halloween am i going to get through october???? jesus god, i'm going to have to invest in a TON of black mourning clothes. maybe even just a full burqa or something. ululating included.) 

did i ever tell you my maternal grandmother had electric shock treatments? she had at least a couple of nervous breakdowns back in the 50s before we really knew about talk therapy and careful medication, and they stuck her in a hospital and gave her electric shock treatments. probably talk therapy and careful medication would have been better for her - she was reaching out for help, and the shock treatments had the opposite affect on her. they made her very quiet and sad and negative and then she wanted to take a lot of naps whenever stressed out. electric shock treatment seems to be for people who are already very quiet and sad and negative and want to take a lot of naps whenever stressed out; shocks them out of that. but if you're literally, you know, violently screaming for help, then maybe you need some calming medication and a thoughtful, wise ear to talk into instead...not brain trauma. but i don't know. i'm not a mental health professional. (you're welcome, society.)

and did i ever tell you that my dad also struggled with issues of melancholy? from what i've been told, his seemed far worse than mine. he struggled with alcohol dependence, which didn't help. i joke a lot, here and elsewhere, about drinking wine and margaritas and beer and etc, but i'm actually very cognizant of how much alcohol goes into me, why and when, and that's because of my dad. and i will be very forthright and tell you i'm pretty certain i do abuse alcohol on certain days, in certain situations, and under certain circumstances. and i will say that i am aware that when stressed and frustrated and/or angry and/or sad, alcohol is actually not the first thing you should reach out to. hug your kid. run on a treadmill. buy a new wardrobe. write it out. lie quietly and watch a crapload of indie films on netflix. eat an entire quart of salted caramel gelato and a whole chocolate cake by yourself while watching a crapload of indie films on netflix. (i do all of those when i don't think a glass of wine would fix my problem. any other ideas?) 

so my dad's thing was beer. my dad drank an awful lot of beer, and he was not that concerned with quality (pabst blue ribbon and budweiser were his go to's). and he struggled with depression. possibly because alcohol is a depressant and alcohol always makes depression worse, so if you're sad and you start to drink then it just makes your sad even sadder...is my theory. which is why, on days like today, i absolutely avoid it and just eat an entire batch of brownies instead. (i'm more of a celebratory social occasion and a stress drinker, actually.) 

and also we had guns. because my dad grew up in the pocono mountains of pennsylvania and they do two things for fun up there: (1) drink beer and (2) shoot bambi (and thumper and cute little flower and probably sweet friend owl, too). i still remember, when i was 4, my dad's 12-point buck kill (or whatever number...they assign them numbers, like penis inches). my grandfather, dad, and uncle hung it upside down in the garage, then split open its guts which spilled out from its soft, white tummy onto newspapers laid below it. and i remember standing in the door that led from my grandparents' living room into the garage, just staring at this gentle deer, blood and guts everywhere, completely fascinated and horrified all at once. later, they'd cut the head off that deer, send it to a taxidermist, and give it to my dad since it was his kill, and sometimes i'd sit on the floor with it, stroking its still-silky fur, looking into its now-glass eyes, and wondering about what its life had been like before my father and his dad and brother had stopped it. 

for years after, the deer head would move around the country with us, and in each new house my dad would attempt to hang it proudly above the fireplace in the new living room and my mom would give him a cold stare and it would end up in a guest bedroom or an office or the garage. but i can still smell my grandparents' garage when it hung from the ceiling, and i remember how cold it was that afternoon and i could see my breath in the air as i stood watching the deer from the doorway, and i could smell the wild still on its body, and i could smell its blood. that dead deer is such a huge childhood memory for me; it's one of my most vivid, actually. in fact, right now, i'm smelling those smells as i'm typing this. i'm pretty certain mental health professionals call that Trauma. 

at any rate, i have no idea why i'm not a vegetarian now. i do think about going lacto-ovo at least, and one day complete vegan. throughout college i didn't eat animal meat, but i also didn't get enough protein in general and i think i got anemia or something. so later, i went back to animal flesh but only chickens, fish, and pigs. because fish, i reasoned, don't have feelings and chickens have weird feet. and pigs because...bacon. but NO COWS. because cows have gentle eyes. and to this day i refuse to eat a baby animal. animals are our FRIENDS. stop shooting them. and NO, ted nugent, i do NOT actually care about deer being like forest rats. go read The Yearling and get over yourself.

where was i? right...alcohol, beer, depression, guns. so i grew up with guns. mostly rifles, stored in a gun cabinet with a glass door on it that stood in a hallway. and i remember my dad would sometimes take the guns out to clean them, and i don't know if it's because i've always had a really healthy sense of self-preservation and/or the memory of what can happen to a body (deer or human) from one of those guns' bullets, but the guns terrified me. and my dad terrified me as well - he'd talk to my brother and me about what he was doing as he cleaned them, and he'd describe in great detail the atrocities that can happen to children who decide to touch instruments such as these. and so i've never had a desire to shoot a gun. i have some friends who are having love affairs with them, and i think they're absolutely nuts. guns are bad news. unless you're a soldier or a cop or you live 500 miles from a grocery store and so you HAVE to shoot your own meat, why have them? 

and they can put dangerous ideas in one's head.

my dad had a moment - several moments, actually - when he wasn't doing well at Life. he was drinking way too much, and he was struggling at work. alcohol changed my dad's personality a bit; mainly, it kind of eliminated his social filter, and his superiors at work were growing agitated with him because he was a bit too open with them about their jackassery. if i've learned nothing else from my father's struggles, i've learned that jackasses don't really like to be told they are jackasses, even if it will help them stop being jackasses and become more successful. you can lead a jackass to water, but you cannot make him (or her) drink.

and he'd either been already laid off or was about to be. and he was struggling. and one day, my mom caught him in their bathroom sitting on the edge of the tub holding one of his pistols. she asked what he was doing, and he said just cleaning it, got up and put it back wherever he kept it. but after he walked out, my mom found two bullets in the bathroom sink. and no gun cleaning supplies anywhere.

i think my dad was...pondering, is what i'm saying. my father had demons; we all do. it's why i don't judge others for their poor choices. life is tricky, and some days you do think about sitting on the edge of a tub, considering options. it's what you do next that counts, and my dad was far too responsible to choose the wrong option. but that story lets me know how big his struggles really were, and it makes me wish i'd given him more hugs that lasted a really long time. 

things you learn as you age; when my dad was alive i was just a self-centered girl who didn't really get how big and overwhelming life can become.

i know somebody - probably my mom - is going to read this blog entry and try to commit me to a hospital for observation or something. so let me be clear: i am NOT writing this to suggest I'M going to go sit on a tub holding a pistol in my hands, pondering. i have far too much schoolwork to do still, too many hands to hold, a class from heaven this year to enjoy, and miss m is my entire world and i want to see her win her Golden Globe and/or Oscar one day because every day i'm more and more certain her dramatic nature is leading her down that very path. what i'm saying is: i am melancholy by nature, that i think it may be hereditary, and because of the big life change i made this summer, that melancholy has taken over a bit lately and i've noticed. if you read here regularly, i'm sure you have as well. but i've noticed to the point where i now think i want to go talk to somebody about it. i don't expect every day to be rainbows and unicorns and splashing dolphins in the sunlight zone, but i would like to stay out of the abyss permanently...maybe just hang in the twilight zone now and then, an occasional little dip down into the midnight zone during rainy octobers. but the abyss is bad. very, very bad. 

or! i could just bake some chocolate chip cookies and down them with a few margaritas after buying a couple of new outfits and watching a few indie films. i don't know.

also, i'm sorry for not using capitals at the beginning of my sentences or consistently...the shift key was just a bit too much for me today. i'm anti-shift key right now.



I think I had this teacher in high school.
Well, I'm just a little writing-holic these days, aren't I? It's because it's an outlet for me. A way to let off steam. A way to get out my ick as well as my euphoria. I do hope I'm not some sort of manic depressive. (I don't think I am; I've somehow managed to reign in all recent my shopping/spending issues. And I'm not doing crack or meth or anything.) (Yet.)

At any rate.

So Week 2 of Back to Work is done. Still love my class. Still exhausted. Today, my tired shone through, though, for the first time and we all had to have a little Come to Jesus Moment in which I said things like, "I don't WANT to hurt your feelings...I love you guys, a lot. I don't WANT to have to be a mean teacher. But I mean, seriously, y'all. Behave in the halls. And the bathrooms. Or I'm going to HAVE to be really, really mean."

 I've been pretty good about hiding it from them. But there's this one kid, who I actually have a soft spot for because (a) he's got sort of a sad home life story and (b) he told me on Day 1 that he loves Sci-Fi, and I have a soft spot for boys who love Sci-Fi. (Don't ask me why, because I love and write things along the lines of Erica Jong and Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott and Alice Munro and Anais Nin and Roxanne Gay - all women who aren't even close to anything like Sci-Fi...yet boys who love Sci-Fi draw me to them like Sleeping Beauty to Maleficent's poisonous spindle, and I can't quite figure out why yet. I think it has something to do with smart and funny brains, but I'm still researching.) 

Where was I? Oh, yes. So I made Sci-Fi Boy cry. Well, Sci-Fi Boy needs to man up. No joke. That's number one. And number two: really? Really?? Threatening to punch someone in the gonads because they aren't pooping fast enough for you in the ONE stall you INSIST on pooping in yourself? I mean, seriously. 

I made a boy cry today, is my point. And yesterday, I made Hispanic Benjamin Button near tear up. 

But then there's Monster Face Kid. Monster Face Kid (MFK) likes to stare at me and make weird faces at me. Today, on the playground, I had to be firm with MFK that I do NOT want to marry Mr. R, the Music teacher. First off, Mr. R is already married and I really love his wife a lot. Second, Mr. R is about half a foot shorter than me and no. Third, I only said that Mr. R's guitar playing in the hallways in the mornings makes my heart happy. That does NOT mean I want to marry him. 

And then MFK and I had a playground argument about how women don't actually need a husband to be rich. Sorry, future Mr. Chauvinist. I let MFK know I make my OWN money, I don't need to ask a man for it. Turns out, MFK's mom doesn't work and asks her man for money all the time and so that's why he's suffering from this delusion. And I let MFK know that may be how it works in his house, but in MY house, I make my OWN money and don't want or need a husband. Ev. ER.

Jesus, they start young, don't they?

And also, clearly, at Open House next week, I'll have to put in some kind of statement along the lines of: "If you don't believe everything they tell you about me, I promise I won't believe everything they tell me about YOU." Because I think parents and teachers should present a united front against these 7-8 year old psychos, for realz.

Tomorrow morning, I get my grey hair covered up (hallelujah). Can I confide in you that the grey hairs really freak me out? Nobody but me can see them, but the point is: I CAN SEE THEM. They're THERE. RIGHT THERE. And in my eyebrows; I'm starting to constantly have to pluck out random, grey hairs. I can't even bear to see what's going on elsewhere on my person. It's possibly why I prefer to just remain as hairless as humanly possible. May look into laser hair removal.

Other than that, I brought home lesson plans to do. But forgot all the quizzes and other work I still need to grade. So it's starting again; my goal this year was to stay on top of that. If nothing else, I vowed to myself, I will NOT bring home mountains of child work to wade through and then end up having to take mental health days off to deal with. I have a whole list of vows I made to myself this year, as a matter of fact. Paperwork Vow is already starting to slide. I forgot to answer an important email and had to be reminded. So Email Vow is off kilter already. And, apparently, they're going to start coming around next week to evaluate how we're performing as teachers. In spite of the fact we're still trying to figure out who's in our class and what it is we're actually doing, and we're still establishing classroom routines and expectations. In between the 10 million meetings they're making us attend, of course.

Educational Psycho Central. Mark my words, I'm going to write a whistle blowing, tell-all. Once I pay off my credit card.


brave second wind.

I really don't want to jinx anything, but omg, Internet. I have a dream class this year. Even my worstest of my worstest I can totally deal with. Today, my little old man boy (who has big issues with personal space and making noises) had finally reached his limit with me. So I told him: Go move your clip down to Yellow, kid. (Yellow = Think About It...it's not even a big deal). He looked terrorized, mournful, pleading. And then he whispered to me, "Please, Ms. S. Can I have one more chance? Just one more?" And jesus god, reader(s). Yes. YES. If you ask me, if you plead with me, for just one more chance, just one more? And you do it with tears in your eyes and you look kinda sorta like a Hispanic version of Benjamin Button? God, yes. Here. You can have 10,000 extra chances. Because can I just keep you forever and ever??

So I'm feeling so much better than, say, about 2 weeks ago. Two weeks ago I was pissed off beyond belief: Why the hell am I in this job, what the hell am I doing there?? But these kids. THESE KIDS. They remind me why I became a teacher. I am still incredibly stressed out. I am still aggravated and infuriated at what's going on in public education. I am crazy busy from the time the bell rings in the morning to the time it rings to go home and I'm freaking exhausted in ways I can't even explain. I just took another beer shower because I stank of August sweat and constant kid monitoring. Right now, beer showers are giving my evenings a much needed second wind.

I am on my feet, or doing silly monster voices, or putting on crazy accents to keep their attention and delight and engagement, I am wiping tears and telling the one kid to sit DOWN for the love of all that's holy...I do NOT need to see your work every time you dot an i or cross a t. I am attending more meetings than is humanly appropriate for a career that underpays its most experienced professionals. And the testing situation. Jesus Christ, seriously. The testing situation. 

But listen: when a teacher has a group of kids who love to hear and tell stories and they get your sarcasm and always laugh in the right spots of a story, and when a teacher has a group of children who don't write the F word on her materials and actually clean up their work area and for the love of all you guys CLOSE THEIR GLUE BOTTLES PROPERLY, it just...it just clears out a lot of the gunk. 

So work is okay. Work is doable right now. Exhausting but doable. 

I'm telling you all this, because I've been plunged to the deepest depths of despair recently, and I've been homesick beyond belief. Tonight I went to dinner at my old house. C made pasta before I took Miss M to her Open House so I could meet her teacher. Whose middle name, by the way,  must be Braveheart. I mean, she runs marathons and jumps out of planes and flies seaplanes in Alaska and has a PhD in educational psychology from a highly prestigious minor Ivy League university...but you know, whatever. No pressure. I'm perfectly fine spooning up my Nutella from the jar every evening and totally content with my master's degree from a Presbyterian college in the Appalachian Mountains.

At any rate. When I walked in the door of my old house, I almost lost my collective shit. New treadmill and new stair climber in the dining room. Paint samples on the living room and kitchen walls. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to help pay $600 of an outrageous $1100 physical therapy bill?? Oh, hell no. 

But then I was corrected - exercise equipment bought at a garage sale for practically nothing, painting is being done by C and a friend. So I felt dumb, because I vented about it all on Twitter. Which I shouldn't do; keep the personal quiet, Amy. Only put your own eccentricities and crazy on display whilst on Social Media. But it was also a reminder: you're just not as good at adulting as C is, Amy. You just aren't. 

But then we ate pasta together, while I tried not to openly cry because every time I go over there I'm filled with nostalgia for my old house...I usually go into a bathroom and breakdown a little. Which I did do tonight. In my deepest, darkest, foulest moments of doubt I will tell you I wonder: did I do the right thing? am I going to be okay? maybe i should go back. maybe this was just me being a hot-head, per usual. 

But after about 10 minutes of dinner, I spent a lot of time trying not to laugh. Because of course. This shit is why I left. For example, watching C interact with M and freak out about how she may get marinara sauce on one of the chairs. 

And I can't go into anymore details than that one, because...well, divorce lawsuits and child custody. But I can just tell you: he's such a good dad. He loves Miss M so much. He's so much better at adulting than I am. But I can't live like that anymore. I can't. OCD people are just...I can't. And sooo...I did do the right thing. I am going to be okay. I should not go back. I was being a hot-head, per usual, but in this case it was probably a good thing. For all three of us.

I have Open House next week. In my About Me powerpoint slide, I can't put that I've jumped out of airplanes or that I have a PhD. But I can put that I'm a writer who once swam with sharks. It wasn't on purpose; some friends and I were standing in the Gulf of Mexico drinking bottles of beer, unaware we were smack dab in the middle of a shark highway. And when we realized it, we did everything you're NOT supposed to do when standing in the middle of a shark highway, like run toward them, and then after that we all refused to go back in the water deeper than our ankles and that was only to sit and pee. 

But my sweet families don't need to know that. They just need to know I'm head over heels in love with every single one of their sweet, darling loves. That I'm really glad I get to spend Mondays through Fridays with their kids, because if I had to spend Mondays through Fridays with kids who weren't sweet, darling loves, I'd have to go work a pole or something instead.

(I'm not putting that last sentence into my Open House powerpoint, I promise.)


time management.

I am writing on a Wednesday and I have no idea why because I'm utterly knackered, as they say across the pond. Teaching small children in a poor, urban setting is very similar to running one's self repeatedly through a meat grinder all day, then getting up at 5:15 AM to do it all over again the next day. All for the low, low price of a few doughnuts, some paper clips, and a donated pack of copy paper which has been opened and has 25 sheets left.

Are you interested at all? Do you care what I go through from the second my alarm goes off til I lay back down and close my eyes to do it all over again? If you do, please. Allow me to enlighten you.

5:15 AM. My iPhone goes off. I bought a $5 alarm at Target to get myself up on time, but now I just like the iPhone's alarm. Since I charge it on my nightstand at night. So it goes off, and I grab it and try to remember if I'm supposed to tap or swipe it to get it shut up for about 8 minutes. It shuts up for about 8 minutes. Then it goes off again and I make it shut up for 8 more minutes. 

I think there's possibly some human evolutionary reason for why people don't just set their alarm for the time they absolutely need to jump out of bed and get going, but I'm sure the 1%ers who run evil Corporate America are behind this.

5:45 AM (because after I wake up, I check the following, in this order: email, texts, facebook, twitter): I finally drag myself into the shower, and mourn my life as the water pours over my aching, nude body. I mourn, for the 10 billionth time since summer vacation ended, my choice in careers. I think about shaving my legs, but nobody cares and so why should I? I do shave my armpits, though, because I think armpit hair is just unnecessary. Ditto for you, gentlemen. Really, why homo sapiens haven't evolved themselves out of it at this point, I don't understand.

6:00-7:15 AM: a bleary blur of coffee, a banana, a mind-numbing drive to work, the Dunkin Doughnuts drive-thru for a bagel/coffee, and sitting in my work parking lot, willing myself to get out of my car and just do it, just DO it, go in and get the day started and over with. Rip the band-aid off and Go. In. The Building.

7:20 AM: I do it. I get out of the car. I go into the building. 

7:20-7:45 AM: 25 minutes of sheer panic about all the shit I needed to get done the afternoon before but didn't have to energy to do. And now that I'm fresher with more energy, I have only 25 minutes to get it all done, but it's at least an hour's amount of work. I kick myself in the ass again, for not being born with the Time Management gene.

7:45-2:45 Teaching. Acting. Singing. Dancing. Going to meetings that talk about meetings we're going to have later. Teaching. Acting. Singing. Dancing. Cutting and pasting. Dealing with the one kid who uses every mere scratch for all the attention he's not been given since exiting a womb. Teaching. Acting. Singing. Taking children to lunch and getting them ready to eat, then having about 15 minutes to inhale my own lunch and possibly remember to pee, which I have not done since 5:45 AM. Then teaching, singing, acting, playing games, cutting/pasting, giving three boys very firm looks, saying, "Are you serious??" about 200 times because I just gave those directions 10 other times, telling the one kid to stop asking me to spell words because I'm not a dictionary; go ask some neighbors or use your phonics. Teaching, acting, singing...then out to a playground to stand, exhausted, under a hot and humid Georgia sun that beats down on my head making me wonder if this is exactly what life was like for someone who had to pick cotton and not because they wanted to.

....did you know teachers are essentially all actors on stage, for 8 hours a day, Monday through Friday? For children's entertainment, encouragement, and enlightenment. Some years, like this one, you get a mostly attentive, mature audience; 99% of them know to keep their cell phones off and listen politely even if the monologue isn't really their taste. Other years, like last one, you get an audience of peasants, who throw rotten tomatoes and fecal matter at you as soon as you open your mouth to say your first line. Teaching is not for the weak.

2:45 PM: Meetings. I probably already had a meeting during the brief 45 minutes they give us each day to get stuff done except since Education "Reform" took over, they've decided teachers shouldn't be getting stuff done - they need to meet more and talk about what to talk about when they meet again. And then, at least one or two days a week, they have a 2nd meeting in the afternoon to talk about what they talked about meeting about when they talked about meeting about what they're going to talk about meeting about the next time they meet.

Or I'm sitting and trying to gather my exhausted wits about me and figure out what to do the next day, and how to prepare for it. Gathering up all the materials we didn't have time to get to that day because some meeting interrupted something or I had to give a state-mandated test and it took 35 minutes longer than I was told it would, or I had to manage that one girl who threw up all over her neighbor's desk because her mom decided to send her to school with a stomach virus and a temperature of 101.5 F. 

4:50: Give up. You win, Defeat. I've been sitting here answering emails, trying to pull this information together for that person, trying to get that piece of teaching in place finally but I don't have to the energy to, and I still haven't even started teaching Word Study; how the hell are they supposed to learn to spell if I never have time to start teaching Word Study?? Fuck this, I'm going home. Thanks for the paycheck and stuff, but seriously. ...What Fortune 500 VP who manages a team of 25+ people has no time to pee all day? Because the last time I did that was 5 hours ago after inhaling some type of over-processed bit of carbohydrates in about 10 minutes. 

6:00 PM: if Miss M is with me, we go home and I make some sort of...dinner? And then I insist she does these foot exercises - she has stiff Achilles heels, and one thigh muscle is weaker than the other, so it's causing running gait issues and C wants her to run the Boston Marathon when she's 18 or whatever. I took her to a Children's hospital on recommendation of her pediatrician, and I won't name the hospital, but I will say they usually serve the indigent so when they see people like me coming who aren't indigent and actually have insurance, their eyes light up in delight and they begin rubbing their hands together in eager, evil glee and their name rhymes with Children's Shmelthspare of Badlanna. But that's all I'll say. 

Two hour physical therapy consultation that lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes and consisted of a bunch of questions M answered with infuriatingly flippant answers and some running down a hallway. At the end, I was told she'll probably have to wear big moon boots for 6 weeks, followed by leg braces for 6 MONTHS, and then steel inserts for god knows how long. Or, here, you can take this sheet I just printed off the Internet for you that I Googled and maybe try this for about 6-8 weeks, bring her back, and we'll see if she can bend her feet back 1/2 an inch or so. Oh, and here's your bill for $1100 and by the way, your insurance only pays 1/2 of that. We'll charge you that again when we see you in 6-8 weeks. Hope you don't have to eat or anything. Have fun! 

8:00 PM: bath for M, wine for me.

8:30 PM: Miss M makes me watch Full House for 30 minutes, and then she's out. 

9:00 PM-11:00 PM: I try to get some of my own writing done, but my brain won't function now. So I head over to social media and enjoy other people's far more interesting dramas and lives. 

Rinse and repeat.

I'm sure there are other ways to go about doing this. I'm sure I could take a time management skills class and they'd tell me I'm just not making enough lists or setting my alarm frequently enough, which would cause my blood pressure to rise to near-death levels as I imagined punching them repeatedly in the stomach. I'm sure I could get better at delegating, but then I'd have to grit my teeth when everything turned out fucked up. Or I could take a course on focus. One of my favorite actors likes to play tennis - he says it makes you focus, which he needs. Maybe I could take up tennis (except then I'd have to manage fitting that in somewhere in my crazy life). 

I'm just so tired. And disorganized-feeling. People walk into my classroom and my house and go, "Amy, you're so together here!" And I always tell them: "But you can't see inside my BRAIN!" Inside my brain is frightening place to be. Also, I'm a Pisces. We are notorious for shoving shit into closets, corners, under beds, etc. Don't look in our crevices; you will see shit in there from 1985 that will make you question everything (EVERYTHING) that is good and innocent.

I also don't have a lot of time to manage other people. When I start managing 20+ people all day? Plus my own kid at night? Listen, I don't have time to help you figure you out. Man/Woman up and make it work yourself or go find someone else to beg, whine, plead with. I am EXHAUSTED. Please do not bring me one single thing that will exhaust me more; I will hurl myself off a precipice.

But you know what I'm about to do right now? Finish this pizza with green peppers and olives and this Corona Light I'm drinking. And then I'm going to go pop open another Corona Light and get in the shower. Because I saw on the Internet the other day that there's this whole concept called a "Beer Shower," which at first I thought was when you stand in your shower and pour lots of beers over yourself, which I GET why someone would want to...but it just seems like an awful waste of good hops and all that. But then I discovered NO! It's starting a hot, steamy shower and standing under the water with a cold brewski in your hand, enjoying not being environmentally conscious and encouraging your own alcoholism, all at once.

I'm fitting that in between folding laundry and paying some bills. Because time management.


heart smile.

One last navel-gazing post and then I'm going to focus on writing about writing for awhile. Or at the very least, I'll throw up a couple of WTF, public education?! rants along with some WTF, Life?! rants over the next coming weeks. But no more Amy inner angst for your brain, I promise. You know why? Because it's not working for me. Sometimes, you just gotta let shit go. And when shit be gone, phew! Bullets. Dodged.

I was thinking today about how Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) did it when she went on her year-long journey of self-discovery. She made a vow to herself to be alone and just figure herself out. She ate a lot of pizza and gelato while learning Italian, took a vow of silence and got very superior at yogic meditation, and learned to smile with her heart in Bali. She made some sweet new friends on her journey, but mostly she learned how to just BE. And BE alone. And be okay with BEing alone.

Because I do this too.

This is basically what I've decided I need to do for the next year. From today until August 16, 2016, I am just going to figure ME out. I'm going to spend a lot of time in silence (when Miss M isn't around, and maybe also sometimes with soothing music on in the background), reading and meditating and doing a crap load of writing. I'm going to do what Anne Lamott said to do in Bird by Bird: seat in butt, every day, creating shitty first drafts. I'm going to get superior at this. I'm going to teach myself to smile with my heart. Even if I can't smile with it in Bali next to Javier Bardem.

Which means I'm going to have to let a lot of shit go, even if that means people. That's hard for me, because once I decide I like you I just want you around forever and ever. And especially in this day and age of social media; letting go of people who aren't good for you and you aren't good for them is very difficult to do, because letting go of social media is very difficult to do. And maybe that'll be something I'll spend the next 52 weeks or so working on as well. 

Here's the thing. Something happened tonight, I had an exchange with someone I've grown to like an awful lot, but it was weird. It's been weird for awhile now, actually. And then I talked with another friend about it, and while I was getting some pharmaceuticals to deal with the cold virus beginning to overtake my body, as I was standing in front of the Cold-EEZE boxes? The Universe or my heart or some Thing, just kind of gently placed itself on my shoulder so it could whisper in my ear: Amy, stop. Stop placing yourself in situations from which you'll only find disappointment in other people and yourself. And stop being distracted by shiny objects in the road and focus on where you're going, my love; just take care of YOU. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. (and Miss M was included as well by this Thing, I'm assuming, by default.)

I've always believed every single person we cross paths with are brought to us to teach us things, as we are placed on their paths to teach them. Sometimes they're things we need to learn about how things work. Sometimes it's things we need to discover about ourselves. And some people are brought to us because simply because maybe we just need to repeat lessons we didn't learn the last time we were in this place. And when we're in those places, we have to make some hard choices, based on what we already know, what worked/didn't work last time, and what we're being shown now. And we have to take all of this learning and evaluate it, analyze it, and synthesize it so we'll get where we're hoping to end up eventually. Because when we don't, that's when the Universe sighs, throws us somewhere else really odd, and then we have to start all over again. 

For some people, that constant process of being fished from the sea and then tossed back in somewhere else and then fished out again and tossed back in lasts an entire life time. I do not wish to be one of those people.

My student teaching mentor told me our last day together: "Give everything you do a good year before you make any major decisions. You can do anything for a year." So I'm just going to be alone for the next 365 days, and learn to embrace solitude (when not being hounded for attention by a 6 year old drama queen). I'm going to write a novel. And I'm going to focus, really, really focus. I'm going to be really gentle with myself, and very kind. I'm not going to put myself into anymore situations that will cause me anger or distress or angst or sadness. Okay, fine. I'll probably be in about 3,655 situations that cause me anger or sadness over the next 365 days. But if I am, I promise it won't be because I put myself there; it'll just be because that particular situation has something to teach me. And when not being put in learning situations, I'm going to spend a lot of time looking for beauty and art and things that, you know, make me smile with my heart. And people too - I will always be on the lookout for people who make me smile with my heart. And if they are wild and eccentric, then my heart shall beam with joy to have stumbled upon them.

Because where I hope to end up eventually is somewhere like Bali, where I'm smiling with my heart. I want to be able to smile with my whole heart.

dark side of the moon.

Hiya Internet. Sooo, I'm better now. My dark nights of the soul are lifting. I'm here to formally apologize for the angry diatribes I've been leaving here in this blog. I know I don't HAVE to apologize. I know I have at least one friend who will probably read this and go: But Amy, I told you all the feelings are normal, and you have a right to feel them all and not apologize for it. I know this. I know this.

But listen: Seriously. I'm typically a calm and normal and happy person. Not too many things ruffle my feathers unless I figure out something on that one list I listed is going on. Or I get behind or in front of a really bad driver. Or I have to sit and listen to a Tea Party Conservative talk. Or a Jehovah's Witness shows up at my door. But other than that? I'm a cool, calm, happy little dove 98% of the time as long as I'm not about to start my ladies' days. 

I don't often dive deep and dwell in the murky depths; when I do it's for about 24 hours and then I come back up to the sunlight zone and frolick with the dolphins once more. 

But lands. Y'all. Last week was a doozy. Shit happened. And then brooding commenced. And when brooding commenced, incidents were examined. Actions were considered. Thoughts were weighed. Soul was examined. Reflection in mirror was stared at. Hard conversations were had. And when that happens for an extended amount of time, that's just the Amy you get. Welcome to her.

At any rate. If she comes back out again, we'll just call her Emo Beat Poet Amy. Okay? Emo Beat Poet Amy is an existential questioning drama addicted weirdo. Just let her rant and get it out of her system; she'll eventually subside into the shadows with her little bottles of booze and all her outwardly directed rage because of her inward little pretty pretty princess insecurities. 

We've all got a dark side of the moon, is what I'm saying. 

Fortunately, I have some good friends. I know forgiving people; I am a forgiving person. I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to have a support network of some kind. And wine. And coffee for the next day. And maybe some Nutella on toast. 

Right now, for instance, I have coffee and Nutella on toast, while I'm looking at an empty bottle of wine on my kitchen countertop. 

And I do. Every single time.


mind-numbing anger management.

Sad News: I've had to pull out of writing for threeifbyspace.net. I'm all kinds of sad about it; I was deeply excited about reviewing The Expanse in December. I got to do some Comic-Con write ups about it, though, and that was cool. But I'll be very honest: Life is really kicking my ass right now. Personally and professionally. I've been reviewing Extant on CBS, which has one of my favorite storytellers, David Morrissey, in it. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (oh my god, that long drink of water Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But shitty shit happened and I couldn't keep up. I just had to stop; I do need deadlines and editors, but I also need to sleep, earn money, and learn how to be a single mom without having a mental meltdown. It was just too much on my plate, and I was having emotional meltdowns which were keeping me from doing a good job for them. And I'm still super excited about watching The Expanse and will most likely write about it (if Life's not kicking my ass) here, on this blog.

They're lovely, kind people, those three if by spacers. They said I was a terrific writer and I can come back and write for them whenever I feel like it. And if/when I can pull myself together, I can rejoin their fun family all the time, because I will always be in their family. I like nice, kind people. Don't you?

But mostly I'm here to say: I finally figured out why I'm so mad. (Mom! Look away!) 


Here it is: I'm sexually frustrated. 

I'm not going to go into the gory details on a public blog, but I will tell you it's been a long while. Since that's happened. With another human being.

My fears/concerns: I'm 43. In less than six months, I'll be 44. (And in two decades I'll be 64 and probably drooling with dementia and this torture won't even be an issue. Silver linings.) I've just left a marriage. Right now, what I need to be doing is taking care of me and my daughter, not thinking about shit like this. But I do, and it's kinda/sorta a problem, I guess? I'm writing about it here, so it must be. 

I'm very picky about whose hands I want on me. I have a long record of making horrible choices in this area. I either end up with a man who knows what he's doing but is fucked up in some way or another, or I end up with one who doesn't have a clue what he's doing and I end up even more frustrated than before.

So I guess if I had to choose between those, I'd pick the fucked up man who knows what he's doing. Because I want to be devoured. Except not chewed up and spit out. And, in my experience, I find men who know how to properly devour women really just chew them up...then spit them out. They get bored quickly, grow aloof, and move on. And that's a shitty feeling, no? Not only do you get to be disgusted with and mad at the devourer, you also get to be disgusted with and mad at yourself because you're part of the problem: you're the bleeding fish that threw itself in the water with the sharks. What did you think would happen?

Also, this is hard to write about and not just because my mom's probably reading.

At any rate. I'm having a really hard time. I'm completely in sexual limbo right now. Still married legally, not free to date. Don't really want to date, because I talk to people who do date and the process sounds so mind-numbingly depressing my brain wants to hurl itself off a cliff. Want to have sex, but not really free to have sex. Want to have sex with the right person, but not really free to find the right person. Thinking about the process of finding the right person is mind-numbingly depressing. 

I know you're reading this going: you're over-thinking this, Amy. One day, someone will just come along when you don't expect it. I disagree with you. That's like saying: trust in the Lord, He will provide. No, He won't, you naive psycho. Not unless you do some seriously hard legwork, too. You don't just pray for cash and then the next day a million dollar check shows up at your door. Life does not work like Pat Robertson wants you to think it does. The Universe is not a wishing well.

Meanwhile, I can feel my libido aging. 

And I also know you're probably thinking: well, Amy. There's always self-love. And if you're thinking that, hahaha! I so want to punch you right now. I don't care if we're related or not. I want to punch you. Self-love is NOT the same and you know it.

This is why I'm angry, Internet. This is exactly why. I love men. But I don't love men who are pigs. (Are there men who aren't pigs? Maybe just the men I know and love.) 

And I'm overwhelmed by work. I want to meet a nice person to be just friends with, to meet for dinner and conversation, and then also no strings other stuff that won't get messy and complicated. And be devoured but not chewed up and spit out. 

I feel like I'm asking for the sun, the moon, and the stars. And it's mind-numbingly anger-inducing. 


the good, the bad, the ugly.

Internet, I've had a WEEK. My exhaustion is exhausted. 

First, The Good:

O. M. G. I got the class from Cutesville. I mean, seriously. The other day, one of my little boys who looks like a little, aged man walked by our door holder every time, bowing formally while saying, "I thank you, sir. And good DAY to you, SIR!" And every time he did it, I wanted to hug him to me because he kept making my whole freaking day. 

Then, one day, one of my little girls who can't read to save her life spent about 10 minutes weaving a lovely story about a pet chicken in Mexico she once had. Her grandma wanted to kill it and eat it for dinner, and she threw herself onto her grandma, begging for mercy, thus saving the chicken's life. But the best part was at the end of her chicken story. Because she stopped to make sure she didn't have anything else to add and then announced, "And that's the end of my chicken story." And flounced off. No, really. FLOUNCED.

And my storyteller heart just about exploded with joy. 

I have a little girl who looks JUST like the girl who plays Riley on Girl Meets World. With the same personality to go with it. Every morning, she floats into my room, basically going: "I love my teacher, I love my friends, I love my school, I love my school work, I love my breakfast, I love my LIFE!"

These kids. Oh my god. THESE KIDS. I've taught for 20 years, and I think this is, like, the pinnacle of my teaching career in terms of dream classes. And their handwriting doesn't suck! Some can't read, some can't write, but they can art like nobody's business. I can totally work with this. Totally.

Now, The Bad:

I am not a leader. 

But you knew this.

I have people, GROWN people, I am working with who need me in ways my own 6 year old doesn't need me. Which, listen. I'm a giving person. I know it's overwhelming. I know it's exhausting. We're all tired here. So let me see what I can do to help you. But also understand: I have my own workload, too. We're all under pressure. So every little bit you can do - get on our school's shared files, go to the district website, go ask those other veteran teachers down the hall...anything, please. And THEN come to me. 

This morning I walked in at 7:35 AM, 5 minutes before the bell, and had to deal with two grown ass people's needs. And then another came in looking for Social Studies ideas. And then another came in looking for little readers to print. To which I just want to scream: I KNOW AS FUCKING MUCH AS YOU DO!!!! I NEVER ASKED TO BE IN CHARGE!!!!!! 

But I'm a people pleaser, and so I just swallow and smile and go: Don't know. Can't help you. Nope, don't have enough to share. Nope, can't give you that, I'm using it. Sure, yeah. When I get some time. Okay, good luck with that. Oh, absolutely. Do whatever you think is best. You're the professional. (and the fucking adult.)

And last, The Ugly:

We do this thing every year in my class, at some point, when emotions run high and people are forgetting that we're a family at school. I make each kid a heart. I ask them what their hearts look like right now - white/pink/red/purple/perfect. I make them write the names of all the people they love most on it, as well as our class' names. Then I make them take the heart and crumple it up as much as they can, and I make them stomp on it. They have a lot of fun doing this. Then I tell them to bring their hearts to the floor and tell them to open them up. What do the hearts look like now? Crumpled/ripped/destroyed. So I tell them to see if they can smooth out the hearts as much as they can, or if they can just maybe get some glue or tape and fix the ripped up parts. Do as much as they can to make their heart look like it did before we crumpled them up. At the end of 5 minutes, I bring them back and ask them if their hearts look better. Some say yes, some say no. Then I ask them if any of them were able to get their hearts to look as clean and perfect as before we crumpled them up. And they all say no. When hearts get hurt, you can smooth them out and tape or glue them back together, but they will never be the way they once were.

I think this is a good lesson for all of us, no matter your age. 

Because I've had some really mean things said to me over the last week. But I've also said some pretty mean things to some people over the last week. I'll admit: I'm pretty goddamned angry. I don't know about what or why,actually. I say it's men, but really it's I don't know. I just feel really, really angry. I do know the following are all the things that will 100% make me come out like Belle Star, guns ablazing, if/when I realize they're happening:

*Feeling defined
*Feeling manipulated
*Feeling confined
*Feeling used
*Being told I owe someone anything
*Assumptions and presumptions about who and what I am, from people who aren't me and don't live in my brain
*Excessive demands from other grown ups 
*Douchebags in general

And then I start building walls. And after my wall is nice and high, all bricked up nicely, I go away. Bye. 

That's all very coded, I know, and I bet you're wondering if I'm drinking (maybe, maybe not, but maybe). But I'm angry, and I'm wary. But mostly, you know what I figured out since moving to my own place on June 15, 2015? I don't need anyone else but me, myself, and I.  And if that makes me some kind of Olive Kitteridge, then I shall wear that label with pride for the next 50 years and you'll have to pry it out of my cold, shriveled hands from my coffin. 

But I have a stinking cute group of kids to hang out with all day, and they're making my 5:20 AM alarm going off a hell of a lot more bearable. Otherwise, I'd be considering panhandling for a living right about now. It's that dire. (And NO I don't care if you think I sound overly dramatic! I AM overly dramatic, and that's how it's going to be until I can balance out this stupid shit.)